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Ukraine crisis: Tennis to let Russians play as neutrals

Russian and Belarusian players can continue to compete in international events and the Grand Slams
Andriy Yarmolenko
Andriy Yarmolenko

The Telegraph   |   Published 02.03.22, 02:08 AM

Unlike most other sporting disciplines, tennis has sought not to ban Russian and Belarusian players from international events.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players can continue to compete in international events and the Grand Slams, but they cannot do so under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice, a joint statement by the international governing bodies said on Tuesday.


“The international governing bodies of tennis stand united in our condemnation of Russia’s actions,” the joint statement said.

It remains to be seen how the tennis world, especially Ukrainian players, react to this decision. There has already been news of the secretary of Ukraine’s tennis federation slapping the Tennis Europe chief executive in the face after describing the organisation’s statement over Russia’s invasion as a disgrace.

Space for Andriy

West Ham United coach David Moyes confirmed that Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko has participated in light training, but said on Tuesday the player would decide whether to play in the FA Cup tie against Southampton on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Yarmolenko was given time off after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week as he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

“Obviously, he is really upset with the whole situation … so we will not rush him. If he feels fine and up to it, he’ll travel with the team. If he doesn’t, we’ll give him some more days off,” Moyes said on Tuesday.

Assets frozen

Alisher Usmanov, who has sponsorship links to Everton, has had his assets frozen as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Uzbek-born billionaire’s USM Holdings sponsors Everton’s training ground, with an initial five-year deal announced in 2017. It also has an option on naming rights for the Toffees’ new stadium — a deal worth £30 million ($40.2 million) to the club. 


Ukraine’s 20 athletes for the Winter Paralympics are expected to be in Beijing in time for Friday’s opening ceremony, IPC spokesman Craig Spence said. The International Paralympic Committee board is to meet on Wednesday and could put further sanctions on Russian athletes or expel them from the Paralympics. Russian athletes are set to compete in Beijing as RPC, short for Russian Paralympic Committee.

Sponsor backs out

German sportswear company Adidas has suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFS) with immediate effect, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday. Earlier, the Uefa had also ended its sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

(Written with inputs from agencies)

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